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How much did an Atari 2600 Cost in 1981?
The Atari 2600 or VCS was released on September 11, 1977. It would soon become a consumer electronics powerhouse. Opening the door to video game consoles that we enjoy to this day.
By 1981, Atari Mania was still growing and everyone wanted either an Atari or its competitors. So what would an Atari 2600 have cost you in 1981? How about the games?
At a K-Mart in Massachusetts $131.88 before tax. That is a great price for the console and at $27.88, Asteroids is a real bargain. Thanks to Bukanza for posting and sharing this important piece of history.
I have seen these prices in catalogs many times, but something about seeing it handwritten that makes this feel more relatable. $131.88 in today’s dollars? That would be about $390. Which, while pricey, is not too expensive for a home console.
Those $20 games? Those would run you about $62. Which is very much in line with modern game prices. The outlier is Asteroids, which was released in 1981 and was a big deal. So you can see why they are charging a premium price for it.
I think they are going to get the least amount of gaming from Casino. A great idea for a game, but the Atari was not quite powerful enough to give a satisfying gaming experience.